My experience in...

Hagia Sophia: Islamic Calligraphy Roundels


Dear Reader,

Turkey is an astonishing country filled with cultures blended together and marked by wars and empire atmosphere can still be felt in the air.

Where do you see this majestic blend? Basically everywhere you walk although my favourite place still is the Hagia Sophia.
This temple was once a church, then mosque and then museum is known as Church of the Holy Wisdom or Hagia Sophia (Άγια Σοφία) in Greek, Sancta Sophia in Latin or Aya Sofya in Turkish, is a former Byzantine church and former Ottoman mosque in Istanbul. Now is mostly a museum and is globally acknowledged as one of the great buildings of the world.

Hagia_Sophia_Calligraphy_ Roundels_Istanbul_Stanito

This is a photo I took of the interior view of the Hagia Sophia, showing Islamic elements on the top of the main dome which are called Roundels.

It is truly breathtaking and decorated with mihrabs, portals, domes, mosaics and urns.
Inside the monument I found 8 beautiful hanging medallions which are in fact known as Roundels. To me these medallions, added in the 19th century, represent a strong contrast with the Christian mosaics giving us an idea of how these religions blend in one place.
These roundels have Arabic calligraphy signs painted painted wooden plaques that were added in the 19th century as part of the restoration ordered by Sultan Abdülmecid and supervised by the Swiss-Italian architect brothers Gaspare and Giuseppe Fossati. The calligrapher is Kazasker Izzet Efendi and the roundel I show above is the name of the Muslim Rashidun Caliph Uthman Medallion written in in Thuluth Arabic calligraphy.

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